Myth of Bluffing
bluffs, particularly in a high-stakes games, have
great drama. Furthermore, people who do not play much
online poker games often think that bluffing is the
central element of the games. When Stu Ungar appeared
on the Merv Griffin Show the day after he won the
1980 world online poker games championship, the first
question Griffin asked him was, "Did you bluff
very much?" Many occasional players who visit
Las Vegas are constantly bluffing in the small $1-$3
and $1-$4 games, and they pay dearly for their foolishness.
It's true bluffing is an important aspect of online
poker games, but it is only one part of the games,
certainly no more important than playing your legitimate
hands correctly. Though a player who never bluffs
cannot expect to win as much money as someone who
bluffs with the proper frequency, most average players
tend to bluff too much, particularly in limit games.
When it costs an opponent only one more bet to see
your hand, it is difficult to get away with a bluff,
for with any kind of hand your opponent is usually
getting sufficient pot odds to call your bet - especially
if he has seen you trying to bluff several times already.
look at the sort of opportunity you might create.
Suppose you make a thoughtful check, and your pause
causes your foe to pause and ponder, too. What is
he thinking now? That you're trying to deceive him
by feigning either strength or weakness. Weakness,
he finally decides, figuring that you'll fold. But
you have gauged his uncertainty and now put him on
a steal. He bets to win the pot but you raise! Now
his worst suspicion is confirmed. You hemmed and hawed
to disguise the real power of your hand and to set
up this trap-the very trap he has just fallen into.
Now he folds, congratulating himself for, if nothing
else, making you reveal the true strength of your
hand. What we're talking about is using nuance that
you yourself generated to finesse a pot away from
Perhaps you're familiar with the phrase "Make
the latest possible decision based on the best available
information." Sometimes a provocative action
on your part, even an unusually slow or thoughtful
check, will pop loose some information you otherwise
wouldn't have had. If nothing else, it moves you out
of your behavioral ruts, in which you may be unknowingly,
dismayingly easy to read.